Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown [NOOK Book]

Overview


"Cunningham’s short book is a haunting, beautiful piece of work. . . . A magnificent work of art." —The Washington Post

"Easily read on a plane-and-ferry journey from here to the sandy, tide-washed tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Land’s End is that most perfect of companions: slender, eloquent, enriching, and fun. . . . A casually lovely ...
See more details below
Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.56
BN.com price

Overview


"Cunningham’s short book is a haunting, beautiful piece of work. . . . A magnificent work of art." —The Washington Post

"Easily read on a plane-and-ferry journey from here to the sandy, tide-washed tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Land’s End is that most perfect of companions: slender, eloquent, enriching, and fun. . . . A casually lovely ode to Provincetown." —The Minneapolis Star Tribune


"Cunningham rambles through Provincetown, gracefully exploring the unusual geography, contrasting seasons, long history, and rich stew of gay and straight, Yankee and Portuguese, old-timer and ‘washashore’ that flavors Cape Cod’s outermost town. . . . Chock-full of luminous descriptions . . . . He’s hip to its studied theatricality, ever-encroaching gentrification and physical fragility, and he can joke about its foibles and mourn its losses with equal aplomb." —Chicago Tribune


"A homage to the ‘city of sand’. . . Filled with finely crafted sentences and poetic images that capture with equal clarity the mundanities of the A&P and Provincetown’s magical shadows and light . . . Highly evocative and honest. It takes you there." —The Boston Globe


Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham offers this evocative, quietly beautiful portrait of Provincetown -- a "spectacular" place at the tip of Cape Cod that is steeped in history -- as the first book in the Crown Journeys series.
Publishers Weekly
Cunningham (The Hours) takes the reader on a leisurely, idiosyncratic tour of the fabled town at the tip of Cape Cod. He makes the rounds of his favorite haunts, from the beaches, marshes and dunes to businesses like the halfheartedly modernized Adams Pharmacy, which has a soda fountain from the 1940s; the Marine Specialties store, a repository of the overlooked, the lost, the surplus, the irregular, the no-longer-needed, and the outmoded; and the Atlantic House, a bar that is sexy in a damp, well-used way. The fish and whales that live in the ocean around the town have a place in his excursion, as do the dogs, cats, skunks, opossums and occasional coyotes that wander the streets. People interest him most, however the old-timer who sits in his yard, shouting, Hello hello hello, to everyone who passes by; the disheveled man who walks the main street night and day; and the more famous eccentrics, the refugees, rebels, and visionaries who have been coming to the town for nearly 400 years. There is also a large gay population, and Cunningham is especially fascinated by this community's flamboyant individuals, who add color even to the local A&P. His quirky guide, part of the Crown Journeys series, presents a very personal view of Provincetown, but at the same time it manages to convey the peculiar, inscrutable intensity characterizing the love so many people have for the place. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A leisurely walking tour and shrewd exposition of that “eccentrics' sanctuary”—Provincetown, Massachusetts—from Pulitzer-winning novelist Cunningham (The Hours, 1998, etc.). It sits out in the Atlantic, the barb on Cape Cod's hook, a slip of land “that unfurls like a genie's shoe from the coastline of Massachusetts.” Only three miles long and a couple blocks wide, Provincetown is a world unto itself, intriguingly rendered by Cunningham. He takes his tour guide's responsibility seriously and eagerly, wanting readers to get both the grand and intimate view, animate, inanimate, and subanimate. He describes the wild swings of weather: bleached in August, the fog-muted greens of spring, winter revealing the “dreadful, rock-hard opulence of the world, that which remains when idealism and sentimentality have fallen away.” There are sturdy Baedekers to Long Point and the salt Marsh, the spare tranquility of Hatches Cove, the potent mysteriousness of Snail Road, Herring Cove's nude beach with its “unique opportunity to understand that the female breast is among the more profoundly variable of human wonders.” There is the undeniable sexuality of the place, gay and straight, “an improved version of the world at large, aversion in which sexuality, though always important, is not much of a deciding factor,” where “the Log Cabin Republican not only can't ignore the existence of stone butches but buys his coffee from one every morning.” Cunningham introduces its cast of refugees, rebels, and visionaries—from Mayflower Pilgrims to Robert Motherwell to the lady who walks only backwards—attracted by the exoticism and low rents (or, as viably, low-rent exoticism), and there are everyday notes on thepharmacy and A&P, the places where you can pee without having to buy something, the centers of buxom tawdriness, the Portuguese influence, the miraculous pleasures of watching whales, “green in the blue-green water, shadowy as an X-ray, netted with pallid light.” And “if I die tomorrow, Provincetown is where I want my ashes scattered.” That's a sense of place called home.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250025661
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 5/22/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 235,341
  • File size: 463 KB

Meet the Author

Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham is the author of five novels, including By Nightfall, A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the PEN/Faulkner award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.


Biography

By the time he finished Virginia Woolf's classic Mrs. Dalloway at the age of fifteen to impress a crush who tauntingly suggested he "try and be less stupid" and do so, Michael Cunningham knew that he was destined to become a writer. While his debut novel wouldn't come until decades later, he would win the Pulitzer for Fiction with his third -- fittingly, an homage to the very book that launched both his love of literature and his life's work.

After growing up Cincinnati, Ohio, Cunningham fled to the west coast to study literature at Stanford University, but later returned to the heartland, where he received his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1980. A writer recognized early on for his promising talent, Cunningham was awarded several grants toward his work, including a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa in 1982, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1988.

In 1984, Cunningham's debut novel, Golden States, was published. While generally well-received by the critics, the book -- a narrative chronicling a few weeks in the life of a 12-year-old-boy -- is often dismissed by Cunningham. In an interview with Other Voices, he explains: "I'm so much more interested in some kind of grand ambitious failure than I am in someone's modest little success that achieves its modest little aims. I felt that I had written a book like that, and I wasn't happy about it. My publisher very generously allowed me to turn down a paperback offer and it has really gone away."

With a new decade came Cunningham's stirring novel, A Home at the End of the World, in 1990. The story of a heartbreakingly lopsided love triangle between two gay men and their mutual female friend, the novel was a groundbreaking take on the ‘90s phenomenon of the nontraditional family. While not exactly released with fanfare, the work drew impressive reviews that instantly recognized Cunningham's gift for using language to define his characters' voices and outline their motives. David Kaufman of The Nation noted Cunningham's "exquisite way with words and ...his uncanny felicity in conveying both his characters and their story," and remarked that "this is quite simply one of those rare novel imbued with graceful insights on every page."

The critical acclaim of A Home at the End of the World no doubt helped Cunningham win the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993 -- and two years later, his domestic epic Flesh and Blood was released. Chronicling the dysfunctional Stassos family from their suburban present back through to the parents' roots and looking toward the children's uncertain futures, the sprawling saga was praised for its complexity and heart. The New York Times Book Review noted that "Mr. Cunningham gets all the little things right.... Mr. Cunningham gets the big stuff right, too. For the heart of the story lies not in the nostalgic references but in the complex relationships between parents and children, between siblings, friends and lovers."

While the new decade ushered in his impressive debut, the close of the decade brought with it Cunningham's inarguable opus, The Hours (1998). A tribute to that seminal work that was the author's first inspiration -- Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway -- the book reworks the events and ideas of the classic and sets them alternately in 1980s Greenwich Village, 1940s Los Angeles, and Woolf's London. Of Cunningham's ambitious project, USA Today raved, "The Hours is that rare combination: a smashing literary tour-de-force and an utterly invigorating reading experience. If this book does not make you jump up from the sofa, looking at life and literature in new ways, check to see if you have a pulse." The Hours won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was adapted into a major motion picture starring the powerhouse trio of Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman in December 2002.

To come down from the frenetic success of The Hours, Cunningham took on a quieter project, 2002's tribute/travelogue Land's End: A Walk Through Provincetown. The first installment in Crown's new "Crown Journeys" series, the book is a loving tour through the eccentric little town at the tip of Cape Cod beloved by so many artists and authors, Cunningham included. A haven for literary legends from Eugene O'Neill to Norman Mailer, Cunningham is -- rightfully -- at home there.

Good To Know

Cunningham's debut novel, Golden States, can be hard to find; check out our Used & Out of Print Store to find a copy!

Cunningham's short story "White Angel" was chosen for Best American Short Stories 1989 -- the year before his acclaimed novel A Home at the End of the World was published.

When asked by Barnes & Noble.com about any other names he goes by, Cunningham's list included the monikers Bree Daniels, Mickey Fingers, Jethro, Old Yeller, Gaucho, Cowboy Ed, Tim-Bob, Mister Lies, Erin The Red, Miss Kitty, and Squeegee.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 6, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cincinnati, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Stanford University, 1975; M.F.A., University of Iowa, 1980
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Land's End
Land's EndPROVINCETOWN STANDS ON a finger of land at the tip of Cape Cod, the barb at the hook's end, a fragile and low-lying geological assertion that was once knitted together by the roots of trees. Most of the trees, however, were felled by early settlers, and now, with the forests gone, the land on which Provincetown is built is essentially a sandbar, tenuously connected to the mainland, continually reconfigured by the actions of tides. When Thoreau went there in the mid-1800s, he called it "a filmy sliver of land lying flat on the ocean, a mere reflection of a sand-bar on the haze above." It has not changed much since then, at least not when seen from a distance. Built as it is at the very end of the Cape, which unfurls like a genie's shoe from the coastline of Massachusetts, it follows the curve of a long, lazy spiral and looks not out to sea but in, toward the thicker arm of the Cape. The distant lights you see at night across the bay are the neighboring towns of Truro, Wellfleet, and Eastham.If you stand on the beach on the harbor side, the ocean proper is behind you. If you turned around, walked diagonally through town and across the dunes to the other side, and sailed east, you'd dock eventually in Lisbon. By land, the only way back from Provincetown is the way you've come.It is by no means inaccessible, but neither is it particularly easy to reach. In the 1700s storms or changes in currents sometimes washed away the single road that connected Provincetown to the rest of Cape Cod, and during those times it was reachable only by boat. Even when the weather and the ocean permitted, carriages that negotiated the sandy road often got stuck and sometimes capsized into the surf. Provincetown is now more firmly and reliably attached. You can drive there. It's almost exactly two hours from both Boston and Providence, if you don't hit traffic, though in summer that's unlikely. You can fly over from Boston, twenty-five minutes across the bay, and if you're lucky you might see whales breaching from the plane. In summer, from mid-May to Columbus Day, a ferry sails twice a day from Boston. Provincetown is by nature a destination. It is the land's end; it is not en route to anywhere else. One of its charms is the fact that those who go there have made some effort to do so.Provincetown is three miles long and just slightly more than two blocks wide. Two streets run its entire length from east to west: Commercial, a narrow one-way street where almost all the businesses are, and Bradford, a more utilitarian two-way street a block north of Commercial.Residential roads, some of them barely one car wide, run at right angles on a semiregular grid between Commercial and Bradford streets and then, north of Bradford, meander out into dunes or modest hollows of surviving forest, as the terrain dictates. Although the town has been there since before 1720 (the year it was incorporated) and has survived any number of disastrous storms, it is still possible that a major hurricane, if it hit head-on, would simply sweep everything away, since Provincetown has no bedrock, no firm purchase of any kind. It is a city of sand, more or less the way Arctic settlements are cities of ice. A visitor in 1808 wrote to friends in England that the sand was "so light that it drifts about the houses ... similar to snow in a driving storm. There were no hard surfaces; upon stepping from the houses the foot sinks in the sand." Thoreau noted some forty years later, "The sand is the great enemy here ... . There was a schoolhouse filled with sand up to the tops of the desks."The sand has, by now, been domesticated, and Provincetown floats on layers of asphalt, pavement, and brick. Still, any house with a garden has had its soil brought in from elsewhere. Some of the older houses produce their offerings of grass and flowers from earth brought over as ballast in the holds of ships in the 1800s--it is soil that originated in Europe, Asia, or South America. On stormy days gusts of sand still blow through the streets.There could be no other town like it. If you were sensitive to crowds, you might expire in summer from human propinquity. On the other hand, if you were unable to endure loneliness, the vessel of your person could fill with dread during the long winter. Martha's Vineyard, not fifty miles to the south and west, had lived through the upsurge of mountains and their erosion, through the rise and fall of oceans, the life and death of great forests and swamps. Dinosaurs had passed over Martha's Vineyard, and their bones were compacted into the bedrock. Glaciers had come and gone, sucking the island to the north, pushing it like a ferry to the south again. Martha's Vineyard had fossil deposits one million centuries old. The northern reach of Cape Cod, however, on which my house sat, the land I inhabited--that long curving spit of shrub and dune that curves in upon itself in a spiral at the tip of the Cape--had only been formed by wind and sea over the last ten thousand years. That cannot amount to more than a night of geological time.Perhaps this is why Provincetown is so beautiful. Conceived at night (for one would swear it was created in the course of one dark storm) its sand flats still glistened in the dawn with the moist primeval innocence ofland exposing itself to the sun for the first time. Decade after decade, artists came to paint the light of Provincetown, and comparisons were made to the lagoons of Venice and the marshes of Holland, but then the summer ended and most of the painters left, and the long dingy undergarment of the gray New England winter, gray as the spirit of my mood, came down to visit. One remembered then that the land was only ten thousand years old, and one's ghosts had no roots. We did not have old Martha's Vineyard's fossil remains to subdue each spirit, no, there was nothing to domicile our specters who careened with the wind down the two long streets of our town which curved together around the bay like two spinsters on their promenade to church. 
NORMAN MAILER, from Tough Guys Don't DanceCopyright © 2002 by Michael Cunningham.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2008

    oh to live life

    A walk in Provincetown is an excellent read. Its funny and informative and sad and graceful. I read parts out loud to people lol! I am one of many who holds the Cape dear to my heart. I walk far and away to be away from crowds on the beach. I love to go to Provincetown for my crowds fix. Well I became enthralled by the book. I looked up from my beach chair and realized i hadn't noticed the hoards had surrounded me. I had been so involved in Mr Cunningham's story. Thank you so much - I just couldn't put it down. peace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2013

    The town sounds pretty

    A well written account of the town he loves. It was for me a guide book really - but a lovely embellished one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2002

    will bring you back

    good book for the first time or long time provincetown visitor... buy it and it will bring you back to all your visits to ptown and provides history too...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2002

    Picture Perfect

    Michael Cunningham painted Provincetown with his words. I closed my eyes and visualized Commercial Street with it's assortment of people, then I craved that crazy town. It's true, once you've been there, it will remain in your heart always! Thank you Michael!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)